Hyderabad, Nov 26 (IANS) With just three days left for the campaign for the Greater Hyderabad municipal polls to end, major political are going all out to use social media platforms to reach out to voters.
Due to the short time available for campaigning and also the restrictions on movement due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the key players are focusing on social media.
As an overwhelming majority of over 74 lakh voters have smart phones, social media tools are proving more effective in connecting with the electorate in all 150 divisions.
From WhatsApp groups created by the supporters of the candidates at the division level to highlighting the party’s messages, announcements and manifestos through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress and the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) are vying with each other to employ various tools to woo the electorate.
Social media teams have been working for last several days doing research like digging out statistics, old newspaper cuttings and videos of leaders of rival parties to nail their lies or expose their double standards.
Since the parties got only 10 days to campaign, they all focused on social media to reach out to as many voters as possible.
The mobile phones and social media accounts of voters were flooded with messages and photos, videos and content from candidates.
The parties also made arrangements for live broadcast of the rallies, meetings and other programmes addressed by their top leaders in different parts of the city.
Leading the social media war is the TRS. The party is in the forefront in effectively using different platforms to reach out to voters. Several leaders of the party are already active on social media and leading them is TRS Working President K.T. Rama Rao.
Popular as KTR, the tech-savvy leader and Information Technology Minister with 2.6 million followers regularly takes to Twitter to comment on the latest developments, to attack the rivals and highlight the development Hyderabad has seen over last six years.
As KTR is leading the TRS in the poll campaign and is also handling the portfolios of Municipal Administration, Urban Development and Industry, his team is active in running the campaign on social media with videos, slides and catchy slogans.
This is in addition to the TRS’ social media wing which is quite strong. Following the footsteps of KTR, several TRS leaders have strengthened their presence on social media. They, along with supporters and sympathisers of the party, are making every effort to ensure that the TRS remains ahead of rivals.
The BJP, which is determined to wrest power from the TRS, is also trying to match the ruling party in social media blitzkrieg. The party’s social media team hired content writers and strengthened the presence over different platforms to stay ahead of others.
With several top BJP leaders including Union Ministers making a beeline to the city to campaign for the party, the social media team has become active to update the party supporters and followers. The rallies, meetings and roadshows are being beamed live on various platforms.
With parties making most of social media, the police are also keeping a close watch on the content. Director General of Police M. Mahender Reddy has said the police was using latest technology tools to monitor social media platforms.
Police claimed to be having reliable information that some people are planning to create communal trouble.
The police chief said social media was being used incite communal passions and thus disturb law and order. “Police is closely monitoring social media. We are using new technologies keep an eye on the posts and alert the people,” he said.
He appealed to people not to share provocative posts and inform the police for taking necessary action.
“They are somehow trying to create riots by spreading fake news through Facebook, by posting old morphed videos on Twitter and through false news and propaganda,” said Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar.